1.3 meters of Panic

March 11, 2011. Japan was rocked by an earthquake that hit 8.9 on the Richter scale. Fires followed. Later, tsunami that reached up to 33 feet hit land.

An earthquake of that magnitude will certainly reach other lands and affect them in one way or another. So, some provinces in the Philippines were given an “Alert Level 2” by the PHIVOLCS. This list includes the place where I live. It’s not a time to start evacuating or to be doing forced evacuations, according to SOP, but some people from select places were told to evacuate.

See, according to a representative from PAGASA who spoke on the radio, the alert levels can be interpreted as “Ready. Set. Go!”. This relates to evacuation. On one, everyone should be ready for anything. On two, everyone should already be set and prepared to run, if the need be. On three, people should already be fleeing.

This is the information they kept on repeating during the radio program. At the same time, reminding people not to panic. However, there is this little curious information that I only heard once. It is about the estimated height: 1.3 meters.

Exactly how high is 1.3 meters? How much damage can a wave of 1.3 meters do? Why are we being given that much of an alert level?

This is not just some rant or an attempt to vent out the worry I’ve felt because of these alert issues. It is a call to the authorities to give accurate, proper, and complete information so as not to ensue panic.

What happened today was very similar, if not exactly the same, as what happened during the Haiti quake. An alert was raised, local government officials moved about to give out information, the police sirens were wailing about, and people were trying to get to higher ground.

It was midday when I got
Is this really something that people should be made to panic about? No matter how much you say, “Don’t panic”, there will always be people who worry too much. A worry which will soon spread like the domino effect.

If this will always be what we get at times like these, people might get tired. Soon enough, they might just stop listening altogether just like the ones the boy who cried, “Wolf!”, were calling to.

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